Lieberman, Burns Propose $200 Million for E-Gov

An electronic government bill introduced this week by Sens. Joseph Lieberman, D-Conn., and Conrad Burns, R-Mont., would establish a $200 million annual fund for fiscal years 2002 through 2004 to be used to support interagency information technology projects.

Lieberman, who noted that the private sector has benefited greatly from the application of IT, said that the federal government "must take full advantage of the Internet and other technologies to overcome arbitrary boundaries between agencies, so government can provide the public with seamless, secure online services."

Burns added: "The U.S. government has been a sometimes unwilling participant in the technological revolution of recent years." The legislation "will change that by creating online services to make government more efficient, accessible and accountable to the citizens it represents," he said.

The E-Government Act of 2001 (S. 803) also would:

*Establish a federal chief information officer within the Office of Management and Budget.

*Improve upon the federal government's centralized portal and establish an online directory of federal Web sites and indexes of resources.

*Institute an online national library.

*Require federal courts to post opinions online.

*Fund a federal training center to recruit and train IT professionals.

The legislation has been publicly endorsed by a number of technology companies, including Electronic Data Services Corp. of Plano, Texas; IBM Corp. of Armonk, N.Y.; and Microsoft Corp. of Redmond, Wash.

"We think the bill is good ? because it is bipartisan, it appears to have some broad-based support, and it is a good road map for e-government," said Chris Caine, IBM's vice president of governmental programs. "It is a well-constructed piece of legislation."

Ten other senators ? two Republications and eight Democrats ? are cosponsors of the bill. They are Sens. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M.; Thomas Carper, D-Del.; Thomas Daschle, D-S.D.; Richard Durbin, D-Ill.; Peter Fitzgerald, R-Ill.; Tim Johnson, D-S.D.; John Kerry, D-Mass.; Patrick Leahy, D-Vt.; Carl Levin, D-Mich.; and John McCain, R-Ariz.

About the Author

William Welsh is a freelance writer covering IT and defense technology.

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